Crafting a Room Makeover: College Edition

The struggle is real. You want a cute AF dorm or apartment room worthy of a Pinterest board, but that West Elm rug for $300 just isn't going to cut it. You want to find adorable, trendy pieces within your price range. It shouldn't be that hard, right? Right. We're here to help you DIY and bargain-hunt your way to the room of your dreams. So, where to start? One, let's begin with some stores that have affordable pieces.  

For Your Whole Home

1. IKEA...because duh.

IKEA is like a treasure trove of affordable home pieces. They know this, so they made the entire store a maze where you have to walk through each section to see all that they offer. Brilliant. Name it, and IKEA has it. My only complaint: Couches/seating aren't the comfiest. I haven't found a couch there that's comfy enough to sit on all of the time. If you have, drop us a comment below and we'll be sure to link it here. My recommendation: Start on IKEA.com and make a list of what you actually need (because it's really easy to get sucked in there). Then, migrate to the store when you have your final list.  

2. Target

If you don't know the joys of walking around Target and buying all the things, where have you been? Target is the mecca of home goods (among other things). You can find anything, even furniture, here. My only complaint: Most bigger items require building, which can sometimes take a long time. But, you get what you pay for, so you may need to do a little manual labor. My recommendation: Have a list of things you want to try to find from Target. Stick to it - otherwise you will buy everything, guaranteed.  

3. Wayfair

Wayfair is the online home goods store of your dreams. Their stuff is so inexpensive, high-quality looking, and there's something for everyone. Also they have sales, like every day, which is ah-mazing for us bargain-hunting gals. Not only sales, but like 80% off sales. Not kidding. My only complaint: You have to build the furniture, because it comes straight to your door. (Can you tell I'm lazy? LOL) My recommendation: Read the reviews! You should always do this when buying home stuff online, but a lot of times people will tell you if it's uncomfortable to sit on or is smaller in person. Stuff like that.  

4. Goodwill

Yes, I know what you're thinking - Goodwill has furniture and home goods? Yes ma'am, they sure do. I got my current desk for $25 (holla!). My only complaint: Hit-or-miss, as I'm sure you've experienced if you've ever frequented a Goodwill. My recommendation: If you find something you like, check for any dents or scrapes. Sometimes they'll lower the price even more for you and you can just paint over it.  

For Home Decor

1. Home Goods

A.K.A. My favorite place on Earth. No, seriously. Home Goods is like that boutique, pricey home store in your town for a fraction of the cost. You can get anything from dog toys to kitchenware to organizers here. And everything is cute. Home Goods is owned by the TJ Maxx franchise; therefore you can't shop online. No two stores are the same. My only complaint: It's hit or miss. Since it's all new merchandise, all the time, you can go in and find nothing. Or you go and love everything. My recommendation: I'll say it once, I'll say it again - make a list!! Home Goods is like Target in that you can sucked into buying everything. You'll convince yourself that you need all the things and it's all downhill from there.  

2. Flea Market/Farmer's Market Finds

The flea market is where you can find some of the best hidden gems ever. There are local artisans that sell their creations here - and almost every city has one every month or so. It totally depends on your city. You can find artwork, craft pieces, hand-made jewelry, you name it. The downside? It's super hit-or-miss, obviously. You never know what you'll find there, but in my opinion, it's worth it to check it out anyway. My recommendation: Go early, when it starts to avoid the crowds.  

DIY Your Room

There are so many ways to craft your room to make it your own. No big purchases necessary. Plus, it's pretty cool to say that you made decor for your room. There's tons of options for DIY-ing things for your space.  

Paint Your Own Paintings

For one, you can wine-and-paint it up at one of those local places where they serve wine and you paint a specific picture (you don't have to drink wine, but it does make it fun). You will be able to choose which painting you want to make, so you can select something that you would want in your room. It's super easy - They show you step-by-step how to paint the final product so it's pretty hard to mess it up. After you're done, you can simply hang it up on your bedroom wall. Easy peasy.  

Macrame

Another fun craft to do that adds a lot to a wall is macrame. They have macrame-making classes, but you could also just learn on YouTube. Creating a beautiful macrame piece will be the perfect use of your time this summer, and then you'll have it ready when you go back to school. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you would like.  

Decorate a Blank Item

Head to your local ceramics painting store and pick an item that you would enjoy having in your room as decor. You could turn a coffee mug into a plant home, for example. Paint the coffee mug a color that goes well with your room - And maybe some other small details. All you have to do is paint the item and wait a few days to pick it up. Ta-da! Brand new decor piece for a fraction of the cost of buying one.  

Turn Old Containers Into Pots for Plants

This is my favorite hack that I learned recently. I saw a blogger turn an old flour sifter (yes, you read that correctly) into a plant home. You could also use a mason jar (preferably a bigger one) to put flowers or plants in. I'm all about using random objects in your home that weren't originally meant for whatever you're using them for.  

Dry Flowers

This has been an awesome addition to my room. I dried roses that I got for college graduation and Valentine's Day and I still keep them in my room to this day. How you dry flowers:
  • Gather them in a bunch while they're still alive (not droopy)
  • Flip them upside-down and wrap a hair tie or rubber band around the end
  • Hang them on a hook or somewhere else they can hang upside-down, vertically on the wall
That's it! So easy - and it makes your flowers last forever. Plus, it gives your room that cool, boho vibe.  

Put Up Picture Frames

Okay, this may be super cliche but I believe a room can transform with a little personality. Putting up photo frames shows your guests you. Your family, your friends, things you love, and happy memories you have. You can even design them in a cool fashion, like hanging them from clothespins on a string or wire. Or, buy inexpensive prints online and frame them yourself. Like these from Society6.  

Paint an Old Piece of Furniture

Don't like the color of your current dresser, but don't want to spend the money to buy a new one? Paint it! Hello, art project! It's crazy easy and turns your old piece of furniture into basically a new one. You can even get fancy with it and distress it using sand paper if you're going for that look.  

Buy Accent Pieces

Okay, this isn't DIY. I know. However, it is quite inexpensive and will change the feel and look of your room. I'm talking about buying statement pieces - A patterned pillow, a cool throw blanket, etc. You get the picture. These new additions will spruce up your current furniture.     Of course, you've got to make the big purchases sometimes. Things like your bed - did you know that we, as humans, sleep for one-third of our lives? So yeah, I'm going to get the memory foam - are used every day so they need to be solid quality. But for those things that you don't need to spend your entire paycheck on, you can find them at the places listed in this article. Or better yet, DIY something rad that you can keep for a long time. Let us know what you thought of this article in the comments below!    
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